Strength of Michigan State’s Defense Will Be Lessened by Absence of Max Bullough

By Jenna Aquino
Mike Carter – USA Today Sports

Michigan State Spartans senior linebacker Max Bullough will not be eligible to play in the Rose Bowl against the Stanford Cardinal on Jan. 1.

Bullough was suspended for violating team rules, which makes him ineligible to play in any more games this season. Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio did not say what team rules Bullough violated, but that it is extremely disappointing that he will not be available to play. His absence on the Michigan State defense in the Rose Bowl could present a problem for the Spartans.

This season, Bullough had 76 tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss. Those stats earned him third-team All-American honors and first-team All-Big Ten honors. He has 299 tackles in his career at Michigan State. Bullough has started at middle linebacker the past three seasons and is considered to be the heart and soul of Michigan State’s defense, which is ranked No. 1 in the nation. He makes play calls from his position and is a great leader both on and off the field. His presence in the Rose Bowl will be sorely missed. The Spartans’ defense will not be the same without him.

Bullough and the Spartans’ defense was not even able to slow down the Ohio State Buckeyes’ rushing attack of Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde in their win over the Buckeyes on Dec. 7 to win the Big Ten Championship. They could be in trouble without him against Stanford, who tends to run the ball quite a bit as well. Running back Tyler Gaffney has rushed for 1,618 yards and 20 touchdowns this season.

Senior Kyler Elsworth is listed as Bullough’s replacement at middle linebacker. Elsworth has only played a few snaps on defense this season.

Bullough’s play-calling abilities and leadership will be greatly missed by the Spartans in the Rose Bowl game. There is no question that their No. 1 defense will not be itself without him, but we will just have to wait until Jan. 1 to see how well they fare against Stanford.

Jenna Aquino is a Big Ten Football writer for Follow her on Twitter, “Like” her on Facebook, add her to your network on Google, or reach her by e-mail at

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